5 foods to introduce to your diet this year

EVERY year around this time we do the same thing — pledge to be better, do better, live better, and eat better. Because being healthy physically is closely tied to our overall well-being — it not only nourishes our bodies, but our minds too.

But likewise, every year, by March, we forget the pledges we made to ourselves, and binge on foods that aren't good for us. And the cycle continues until the next year again, when we vow that diet and exercise will be high on the list of things we resolve to be better at.

This year we're not going to tell you what you should start eating, we're telling you what to get more of — these awesome superfoods that you can add to your shopping bag, if you haven't already, that will change your life.

Nutritional therapist Elysia Gardner introduces you to five foods that it's “positively sinful” to not introduce to your life this year.

Blueberries

These tiny berries are not only delicious, but each one is packed with so many nutrients that are good for you, that they never cease to amaze. Known as being among the most powerful sources of antioxidants in the world, blueberries can help heart health, bone strength, skin health, blood pressure, diabetes management, cancer prevention, and mental health, and best of all, they're readily available in supermarkets. So grab a bag and add the berries to your pancakes, waffles, cakes, pies and smoothies for the ultimate benefit.

Chia seeds

These are also widely available in health food stores, and contain significant amounts of fibre, magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorus and various other nutrients that promote absorption and bone health. Sprinkle these on top of everything — your smoothies and juices, yoghurt, porridges, salads or even eggs.

Garlic

Jamaicans don't need to be told about the health benefits of garlic, but it doesn't hurt to hail how impressive this bulb is. Garlic is known for boosting the immune system, fighting fungus, reducing cold symptoms, lowering blood pressure, and the list goes on. Add it as a spice to everything you cook, and your body will thank you for it.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are rich in fibre and protein. They also contain several key vitamins and minerals. Used in a lot of vegetarian dishes and in Mediterranean cooking, chickpeas contribute a significant amount of protein to the diet, and is an excellent meat replacement. A cup of chickpeas provides almost one-third of a person's daily protein needs.

Ancient grains

Ancient grains are sold in health food stores, and are a mix of grains like bulgur, quinoa, barley and other wheat products, that are said to be healthier and better for the body than other grains like white rice and wheat that have been refined. These grains are rich in calcium, iron, potassium and protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and zinc because they haven't been stripped. They're also a good source of fibre. Grab a bag of ancient grains to replace your starch, and it will regulate conditions like high blood sugar, Gardner said. It will also strengthen your bones, lower cholesterol and promote heart health.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy